Read an extract

Vulgar Favours: The Hunt for Andrew Cunanan, The Man Who Killed Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth

The basis for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, a 10-part drama series on BBC2, Vulgar Favours is the unforgettable account of a sociopath, his savage crimes, and the devastation he left in his wake.

In the glamorous and hedonistic fashion world in the 1990s there was one world-famous name that everyone knew – Gianni Versace. Vulgar Favours details the events that led to his murder at the hands of Andrew Cunanan on July 15th, 1997.

Maureen Orth, investigative journalist, was researching an article for Vanity Fair about the Miami Beach serial killer two days before Versace was brutally killed outside his mansion by Cunanan. Drawing on over 400 interviews and thousands of pages of police reports, Orth recounts in gripping detail how Cunanan became one of America's most notorious serial killers, evading the police and leaving his other victims’ families in disarray.

THE PHONE RANG ABOUT 1 A.M., and my husband sleepily caught the receiver.

‘‘Is Maureen Orth there? Is this Maureen Orth, the writer?’’ The male voice was insistent.

‘‘Who’s this?’’

‘‘I want to discuss the article.’’ A pause, then a click.

‘‘It sounds like him,’’ my husband told me.

‘‘Who?’’

‘‘The guy you’re writing about.’’

‘‘What? You mean Andrew Cunanan?’’

‘‘Weird,’’ my husband said. Then he flopped over and went back to sleep. But by then I was wide awake. About ten days later, hours after Gianni Versace, the famed fashion designer and gay icon, was murdered, the phone rang again a little after 1 A.M. I was already booked on a morning plane to Miami to report the breaking story of Versace’s murder, because the number-one suspect was Andrew Cunanan. By then I had been reporting on Cunanan for nearly two months for Vanity Fair magazine—his favorite publication. I also had learned that he had met Versace several years earlier and that he was suspected of killing four other people, including his best friend and the only man he ever said he loved.


‘‘Hello. Is Maureen Orth there?’’ My husband recognized the same male voice. ‘‘Who’s calling?’’ But the person on the other end thought better of it. The long distance background sound cut off abruptly. I will never know if I thereby lost the scoop of my life.
 

‘‘Hello. Is Maureen Orth there?’’ My husband recognized the same male voice. ‘‘Who’s calling?’’ But the person on the other end thought better of it. The long distance background sound cut off abruptly. I will never know if I thereby lost the scoop of my life. Under any other circumstances, appearing in Vanity Fair would have been Andrew Cunanan’s dream come true. By then, however, in early July 1997, he was about to become the subject of one of the largest manhunts in FBI history. Thousands of people would be looking for him, yet nobody knew where he was.

Nine days later, Andrew Cunanan’s body was found on what would become an infamous Miami Beach houseboat. Moreover, the aftermath of his crimes and his cruel and tragic journey through America would reverberate for months. What began in the media misleadingly as a ‘‘gay lovers’ quarrel,’’ confined to a closed but ‘‘out’’ gay world, built as Cunanan’s murders became more heinous and bold into a story that catapulted him to the forefront of the mainstream press—leading the evening news, on the cover of both Time and Newsweek. 

More about the book

Vulgar Favours

Maureen Orth

A true story of dark forces that ended a colourful life.

The basis for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, a 10-part drama series on BBC2, starring Penelope Cruz and Ricky Martin, this is the unforgettable account of a sociopath, his savage crimes, and the devastation he left in his wake.

In the glamorous and hedonistic fashion world in the 1990s there was one world-famous name that everyone knew – Gianni Versace. Vulgar Favours details the events that led to his murder at the hands of Andrew Cunanan on July 15th, 1997.

Maureen Orth, investigative journalist, was researching an article for Vanity Fair about the Miami Beach serial killer two days before Versace was brutally killed outside his mansion by Cunanan. Drawing on over 400 interviews and thousands of pages of police reports, Orth recounts in gripping detail how Cunanan became one of America's most notorious serial killers, evading the police and leaving his other victims’ families in disarray.

You might like